The No. 2 USA automaker said it would pause advertising on all social media platforms in the United States for 30 days, adding that it would evaluate such spending in other regions as well.
"The investments we have made in artificial intelligence mean that we find almost 90 per cent of Hate Speech we action before users report it to us, while a recent European report found Facebook assessed more hate speech reports in 24 hours than Twitter and YouTube", the company said in an email.
"We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and we stand against hate speech", the Seattle-based corporation, which operates thousands of restaurants around the world, said in a brief statement.
Free Press and Common Sense, along with USA civil rights groups Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, launched the campaign following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by Minneapolis police.
People walk past Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Facebook says it captures 89 percent of hate speech before it even goes public on the social network.
Their boycott is significant because ad revenues generated nearly US$69.66 billion for Facebook previous year and is the company's biggest money maker, according to research firm Statista. Unilever, for instance, on Friday committed to pausing its U.S. spending on Facebook for the rest of the year. The liquor giant spent $94.9 million on Facebook advertising in the USA alone in 2019, according to estimates by analytics platform Pathmatics.
In recent days Facebook has made mild concessions about some ad content and applying warnings to these when they're identified.
Despite the boycott, Facebook boasts some seven million advertisers on its network, with the vast majority small- and medium-sized businesses.
Zuckerberg has responded to the Facebook criticism by announcing that the company will add a link to all voting-related posts suggesting users investigate its new voter information hub.
After brands like Verizon, Eddie Bauer, Levi Strauss and Co. and Mozilla pulled their ads from the platform, Facebook's stock slid by 8.3 per cent to US$216.08 on Friday, its biggest drop in three months.
He said: "We're expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others". "We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed. We need comprehensive policy".
Moreover, Facebook did not address demands that it refund companies whose ads are displayed next to content that is later removed for policy violations, said Ian Orekondy, chief executive of AdComplyRx, an advertising tech company that helps pharmaceutical brands with their digital ads, which has joined the boycott. Many of the US based companies who have joined the list haven't stopped advertising they have just switched to other provides of online advertising.
In a statement yesterday (Sunday), Starbucks said it would payse advertising on all social platforms while it discussed internally with its media partners and civil-rights organistions over stopping the spread of hate speech.
Any lasting impacts on Facebook Inc. and other big platforms will depend, of course, on how long advertisers withhold their spending.